Friday, March 22, 2013

Days of Lent

BTC Catechumens
It has been almost a month since my last update.  Wow time has marched on.  Lent has been full of wonderful spiritual opportunities and happenings here.

Alonso, our Spanish Catechumen
JP II Catechumens
We have nine people preparing to enter into the Church.  They include four teenagers in Grainger County all preparing for the Christian Rite of Initiation which includes Baptism, Confirmation and Communion.  Two of these families have no Catholic connection except their desire to be a child of God.  Their families have been supportive but have not attended Mass with them.  At Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Maynardville, we have two grandchildren of one of our members preparing for baptism, one spanish speaking youth and two adults who will also recieve these sacarments.

Liz leading the woman's retreat
Among one of the highlights was the first woman's retreat at Blessed John Paul II.   Our presenters were some of our Glenmary co-workers. Lorraine VanCamp led reflections on the Way of the Cross with the Spanish Speakers and Liz Dudas did the same with our English speakers.  This event concluded with praying the Way of the Cross together.  It was wonderful to see the coming together and deepen of God's love.

Lorraine praying with woman at the retreat
We also have been offering the Stations of the Cross every Friday with a terrific response in both missions.  This devotion helps us focus on the depth of God's suffering and love for us.  I am always amazed at the people He encountered along the way:  Mother Mary, Simon of Cyrene, the weeping woman, Veronica.   In our journey on earth and on those days we carry the cross, many people, hopefully, are there to support us as well.  May our selfishness and pride not blind us to all those willing to help us on the journey called life.  None of us need bear our sufferings alone and all our sufferings have been redeemed by the death and resurrection of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Visitors from Holy Spirit Parish, Iowa visiting Miss Edith of JPII

We too walk with yet another family in sorrow during the death of Wilma.  Her funeral Mass was the first held in our store front church.  She was a tough Texan who loved her family and the Lord.  We continue to pray for her husband, her children and other members of her family.  She is greatly missed.

Praying for a New Pope
Then in the midst of Lent we have had the election of a new Pope ... Pope Francis or Papa Francisco in Spanish or as I like to call him Papa Pancho!! (Pancho is the nickname associated with Francisco in Spanish). 

We have begun Adoration and Benediction every Tuesday following Mass.  This included on the Tuesday when the conclave began.  On Wednesday, the day of Pope Francis's election, we held a special Mass of gratitude.  With less than two hour notice, over 60 people attended!! In just two short weeks, he is already well loved.

Irish Eyes are Smiling
Our Lucky Charm, Mr. Jim

Two extra events Occurred during Lent.  We had our annual desert bake off with the Boy and Girl Scouts.  Our troops also received the Golden Bow award from the annual Saturday Picnic with the Bishop.  Then we had a little Saint Patrick celebration last weekend.   Thank God it fell on a Sunday, so no dispensations were needed.

Boy Scout Leader, Linda and Fr. Aaron
This week we enter into Holy Week.  May each of my readers take advantage of the Spiritual Blessings possible during this time.  May the suffering Christ heal you of your wounds and may the glorious Christ bring you to New Life.
Fr. Steve with miracle baby Riley
(Riley was born under 2 pounds ... look at him now!)

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